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Where to Weekend: A SoCal Getaway as Grand as It Gets

Summer at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar is pretty grand.

San Diego is a lovely escape, and from Los Angeles, it’s perfect for a long weekend where you feel like getting out of town–but not too out of town. And there’s one hotel, in particular, you’ll find has everything you need, all in one place. The Fairmont Grand Del Mar (technically it’s in San Diego, despite the name) is an absolutely stunning and enormous property featuring 249 luxury rooms, designer-made golf course, a multi-award winning restaurant, and a Forbes Five-Star spa–in other words, this place is FANCY as HECK–and we are here for it.

With their “Be Free” summer activities and wellbeing pop-ups (Yoga! Meditation! Crafts! Pink pool parties!), you’ll easily be able to fill a weekend up without leaving the premises. Heck, you might not even want to leave (but you have to, since you aren’t allowed to live there, sorry–I tried).

Get There–Fast

Let’s start this trip out as luxuriously as humanly possible, shall we? The Fairmont Del Mar has you covered with this as you have the option to charter a private helicopter straight to (or at least very close to) the hotel. Doing this will get you on a luxury IEX helicopter (this is not your usual helicopter–it won’t make you throw up!) that can fit up to eight people–from Los Angeles, it’s about a 45-minute ride (and also can be chartered from Palm Springs and Orange County).

Before and after.

INSIDER TIPWhen we say luxury helicopters, we mean it—IEX operates a fleet of Sikorsky S76 passenger aircraft, which are considered the most trusted name in helicopters (used by many presidents and Fortune 100 companies). They offer more comfortable and less turbulent rides so that your stomach can rest a little easier. And the seating is extra comfy, as well,


It’s time to relax, my friend. You just arrived at one of the nicest hotels on the planet, and you don’t have to do a dang thing. First of all, you just got off a helicopter, so let’s recover from that for a moment. How should you recover? Why, by taking it easy in your luxury guestroom or suite, of course (which you will have, since you flew in by helicopter–that’s part of the package, naturally). The Signature Terrace rooms are adults-only and open up to your own personal terrace. Just beyond the terrace is the adults-only Relaxation Pool, so, great news, you’ve got a luxury pool in your backyard. The rooms themselves are luxe and comfy, with ginormous marble bathrooms that include both a shower and a European-style soaking tub. Plus, you’ve got flatscreen LCD televisions in both the guestroom AND the bathroom (now THAT’S luxury!).

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A fine room and a fine bathroom, as well.


Okay, despite not wanting to leave your room (I get it), there’s more to do around here, and plus, when you’re done, you’ll get to go back to your room (so you have that to look forward to!). Why not get in a little tee-time at San Diego’s only Tom Fazio-designed golf course at the resort’s Grand Golf Club? Nighttime is the best time to hit the course this summer, as there’s a special “cosmic” golf experience called glow golf (glow in the dark putting, baby). And if glow golf isn’t your thing and you’d like your experience to be a bit more professional, check out the resort’s world-class driving range.

It’s your evening! Here it is.

After a little bit of sport, it’s time to relax again. Head out to the fire pit just outside the resort pool (and poolside bar) for some s’mores and a serene evening view of Los Peñasquitos Canyon.

The fire pit and its nicely lit tree.

Begin the day with some breakfast brought straight to your room. Take your time–you’ve got nowhere to be, because you’re already here, remember? Actually, wait, yes you do–you’ve got an appointment at the resort’s spa. The Spa at Fairmont Grand Del Mar is–and I’m being completely serious–one of the best places in the world. If I could live inside of that spa, I would, but you can’t live at a spa, because it’s a spa. This is one of only 60 Forbes Five-Star spas in the world. Book a treatment (I’d recommend the Collagen Firming Facial or Stony Silence massage), and you can stay there the whole day if you’d like. Not only are there gorgeous rooms to relax in while lying on the most comfortable couches and loungers in existence (with fireplaces!), but there is also a relaxation pool, indoor whirlpools, wet and dry saunas, and access to the fitness center. The outside spa terrace is also lovely, complete with fountains and garden views.

As you can see, one of these loungers has a canopy– one of the best luxuries, in my opinion.

INSIDER TIPFeel like getting some more sport on? You can do this at the resort’s sprawling tennis center, which features (of course) breathtaking canyon views.


Okay, so, I know you probably don’t want to, but you’re going to have to leave the spa eventually. At least, in this case, you are leaving it to go relax somewhere else. This is the perfect evening for a fine dinner at Addison, Southern California’s only Forbes Five-Star, AAA Diamond and Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef restaurant (it’s also San Diego’s only Michelin-starred restaurant), which translates to “extremely good contemporary French cuisine” by Chef William Bradley.

A lot of courses coming your way soon!

Addison prides itself on contemporary haute cuisine and has a vast wine list (very necessary). Get ready for many courses–they’ve got five-course tasting menus as well as ten-course tasting menus, and they shift and change all year long, depending on the season.

INSIDER TIPDress up for this in your best cocktail attire! You can wear jeans if you’d like, but they recommend jackets for men.

After dinner, enjoy the views of the canyon and golf course from the Addison balcony before heading back to your room to go to sleep. You’re drunk at this point! You had a lot of wine!

Go to sleep! But, wait, stand on the balcony first.

You wake up, probably still feeling a bit full (and possibly hungover–I hope you drank water before bed) from your Addison dinner last night, but it’s breakfast and therefore it’s time to eat again. Head over to the Amaya restaurant, located right off the gorgeous Aria Garden. Get yourself an Eggs Benedict or keep it light with an Acai Parfait and stare at those lovely gardens as you sip coffee. It’s morning, it’s dewy and green, it’s perfect.

Now, These Are Gardens!

After breakfast, take a stroll around the gardens and get lost in the scenery–it’s easy to do with how big this place is. This resort is all picturesque gardens–you can’t escape it, and you won’t want to. Perhaps take part in one of the resorts special summer Way of Wellbeing Workshops or Floating Yoga and Meditation pop-ups (where you can learn how to meditate, do some beginning yoga, make your own essential oils, etc.)–there are events like this popping in and out all summer long.

Here is some Wellness for you.

Did you think we were done here? No way–just because it’s Sunday, don’t think this weekend is over yet. It’s not! We’re invincible and it’s time to go to the pool. Actually, it’s time for a full-on pool party, Fairmont Grand-style, because Sundays at the resort are special this summer in that they host “Rose the Grand Way” pink-themed pool parties at the Family Middle Pool. Camp out in comfy chaise loungers around the pool and enjoy some pink-themed treats and drinks as you watch the spectacles going on around you–I guarantee you’ll see a mermaid, but there will also be some other memorable characters wandering about (Napoleon, for example, who can be seen here, doing some standing).

A lot is going on here, as you can see!

Okay, now that you have partied (or most likely lounged) at the pool, you are free to leave! Go forth to your homes–the weekend, sadly, is over. You can always come back! The Fairmont’s not going anywhere.

But, y’know. Check out first. That’s how hotels go.

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